Friday, January 30, 2009

Frugal Friday: Kraft Coupon Instant Win

It's Frugal Friday today:
There are so many good ideas over there! Bloggers are just the smartest people on earth, IMHO.

I found an instant win contest on the Kraft site for $15 in coupons. You only get to play once a day...but I tried today and won! The coupons will come in the mail in a few weeks.

I'm always iffy about things like this, so I stick with reliable companies I know. Here's the link to the Kraft contest:

This ends February 2nd, btw! (Sorry, I only just found out about it.) Good luck to everyone.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do Something with Your Leftovers!

Today's assignment, should you choose to accept it, is this:

Pick out a shelf in your fridge.
Take out any leftovers on that shelf.
Check for the following qualities:
1)Pleasant smell
2)Lack of growing/green stuff

Should the leftovers in question meet these criteria, your next step will be to either
a)plan a meal around them within the next 2 days
b)get them into the freezer for future use. And don't forget to label them!

I just put some sushi rice and some cooked beef in gravy in the freezer. Not sure what will become of the rice, but I made a note on the beef that I could add spices, shred it, and put it in tortillas.
I'm going to finish off some soup broth for lunch today by adding some noodles, which James and Nick will eat.
For me, leftover peanut butter spaghetti, roasted cherry tomatoes and maybe broccoli salad. At the very least, it's our vegetable tonight!

What are you waiting for? Go rescue some leftovers before they turn into science projects!

This blog entry will NOT self destruct in ten seconds...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday

Today is Tightwad Tuesday over

My bit of advice is to pay cash whenever you can. Since the beginning of this year, I've been trying to do just that. It doesn't always work, but I find if I stick to a list, I can do it. Combining coupons and sales helps, too! (Yesterday, I brought home almost $40 worth of groceries for $18!)

The kids pay me cash for car insurance or rent, and I try to use this so I don't dip into my pathetic bank account. (Pathetic because of trying to keep up with bills, like so many others!) If I have $25, I try to aim for spending less than $20.

I've been doing Grocery Game for a long time now, and have a good stockpile that helps keep my list short. On Sunday, I'll print out a list of possible purchases, but then I'll go through it and cross off things I really don't need. I try to save at least 50%. It wasn't easy when I first started, but as I think about what I already have on hand, I can cut things off the list.

I have cashed in change, scratch-off lottery tickets and bottle receipts to get a few extra bucks. It isn't going to erase my debt, but it sure does help with the groceries.

After all, your food bill is probably one of the most flexible expenditures (right word?) in your budget!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Adaptation

I haven't participated in Thrifty Thursday for a while, so here I go again. My thrifty advice today is: 'adaptation.' Instead of running off to the store to get the ingredients you need for a recipe, look around and see what you can use instead.

I found a recipe for a Beef and Vegetable Bake in the January issue of Ladies' Home Journal. (Page 109). I have 90% of the ingredients. I'm only missing mushrooms, possibly red wine, and biscuit mix. Okay, I like mushrooms, but since it is only 2 of us eating tonight, they aren't practical. So I'll leave them out. I can increase the beef broth or add water to sub for the wine, if I need to do that.

As far as biscuit mix, well, I looked it up to make my own. But you need shortening, and I don't keep that in the house. So then I remembered I have a can of crescent rolls in the fridge. Instead of biscuits, I'm going to put the crescent dough on top. I think it will work. At the very least, I'm sure the meat part will taste good!

So, always think about what you already have that might be able to do the job. It will save you money!

For more great thrifty ideas, visit "Thrifty Jinxy" soon!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday: Napkins

I'm not working on any particular sewing projects these days, but want to keep myself 'in the mood.' So I've been looking for little things to do that don't involve a trip to the fabric store. (See my previous post.)
I like cloth napkins, just because they feel nice--nothing to do with the environment. Saving the earth is just a bonus. Saving money and getting something semi-luxurious out of the deal is the real reason I do it.

Today, I'm making more cloth napkins.

This is frugal because it's a)cheaper than constantly buying paper napkins* and b)I'm using up some of my ridiculous fabric scrap stash. Did I say ridiculous? Can any sewist have too much fabric--even little pieces?

*truth: my husband buys paper napkins. I use them, too, but not as often as I use cloth. I only wish I could get the rest of the house on board with me. Oh, well.

For more Tightwad Tuesday fun, visit:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sewing/organizing Project

My son Nick has a collection of playing cards, in different colors, that usually ends up all over his floor. So I made him this wall hanging to hold them, and other things. I had a big piece of 'ticking stripe' which must have originally been a pillow (my mom gave it to me), because 3 sides were already sewn up. I just finished it off and added some pockets. I sized the bottom row to hold the playing cards, but just used whatever size scraps I had for the remaining pockets. Nick really likes it. I hope it means there will be a few less things on his floor!
BTW, when most of the sewing you do is for girls, it's really hard to find 'boy' fabrics in your stash, LOL!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes, I Do Have Bananas!

I've got bananas up to wazoo. My boss had a religious gathering at her home the other night. She is Hindu, and part of the ceremony involves fruits and flowers. In fact, my daughter helped her do the flowers. So today, Dr. A asks me if I want some bananas. She gave me 3 big bunches, plus some apples and pears! Free fruit, oh, boy!

I learned something new today. Hindus don't eat onions. At least, not the kind that Dr. A is. (I don't know if there are different groups.) Onions are thought to make you 'hard' inside. I thought that was interesting.

Meantime, here I am with bananas. I chopped up some and am freezing them for smoothies, and I smashed up some to freeze for banana bread. I'm giving a bunch to my neighbor.

I think, maybe, I'll either start swinging from a tree soon or go into potassium overload.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday

I found another awesome "Day" at a cool blog called "" It is "Tightwad Tuesday." Head on over there to check out some great ideas from other bloggers!

Here is my donation. It is a recipe for the most tender, juicy roasted chicken you've ever eaten. I think it was shown on some morning show a while back, but don't ask me to remember where!


You need a roasting chicken and one or two lemons. That's it. That's all.

Take a fork and stab the lemon a bunch of times and put it up inside the bird. If it's a big guy, you might need 2 lemons.

Roast your chicken exactly as you would a plain one. The lemon juice will leak out and will both tenderize and flavor the meat.

You can make a lemon gravy from the juices, if you'd like.

A caveat: do NOT put any lemons in the pan, outside the bird. Somehow, they work just fine inside, but I found that lemons outside make the drippings really bitter.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Frugal Friday

It's Frugal Friday over at Biblical Womanhood, and I actually have something to offer!

I love sushi. I crave sushi. I even found a recipe and have 98% of the ingredients to try making it myself (California Roll. I'll eat raw fish, but I doubt I could find/afford sushi grade tuna). I'm only missing the green stuff, which I think is called 'nori.'

But this is not about sushi. It's about those cute little containers that sushi comes in. The tops are clear and the bottoms have a pretty Oriental-floral design. Seemed a shame to get rid of them.

So I bleach-clean them and use them for craft storage! I just let them soak a bit, and there is no smell. Really, if your sushi smells fishy...order the tempura.

I've divided up my ribbons by color and am now starting on dividing up my buttons. They stack beautifully and you can easily see what is inside!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Nintendo DS

This was the gift my kids gave to me, and I love it! I cashed in some change for an Amazon gift certificate and got the "Personal Trainer" cooking program. It came in the mail yesterday, and it's so much fun. Tonight I'm making "Bang-Bang Chicken" (don'tcha love that name?) and Chinese Cabbage Salad for dinner. With the program, you can check off items you need, and it makes a master grocery list for you. It also has a calculator that keeps track of how much you are spending. That's a good thing, because I wanted to stay under $30, the cash in my wallet--and I did.
Oh, and you can also ask for substitute ingredients! For each of these recipes, there are some things I don't want to have to pay for (chili oil, for example) and was glad I had substitutes for them here at home.
I don't mind buying something if I know I'm going to use it, but what's the point of having something take up room in your pantry? Case in point is the Malt Vinegar that I've had for years and years, LOL!

So, if you have the DS and you were thinking about this program (I first saw it on a cute TV commercial) I definitely recommend it. BTW, for this item, shipping was free. I had to buy something else to hit the $25 minimum (the program costs about $20), so I bought the latest paperback by Diane Mott Davidson. All paid for with pocket change!